No, not the damn giant robots. This:
Q: So, what is Sentinels?
A: Sentinels is the brainchild of Rich Bernatovech, and the penchild of Luciano Vecchio. It's an independent comic published by their creator-owned studio, Drumfish Productions. To date, there are three volumes published, with a fourth on the way.
Q: Yeah, but *what* is it?
A: It's a superhero book, somewhat like and somewhat unlike the type you've probably seen in your local comic shop every week. The elements of fantasy, of legacy and history, and of soap opera dramatics are present. But it's also much more tightly knit, there's a sense of urgency, and there's the potential for change.
Q: Would you say it's a superhero comic for people who don't like superhero comics?
A: I would not; Sentinels knows its roots, and it's not ashamed of them. If, however, you've grown disillusioned by the Big Two lately, it is a great way to fall in love with the genre all over again.
Q: Okay, so what's the deal?
A: Sentinels tells the story of the second generation of superheroes to unite as a team under that name. The original Sentinels, parents of the current team, disappeared mysteriously several years ago, and are presumed dead. Their children have tried to carry on the legacy, but it has not been easy. In fact, as Volume 1 starts, the Sentinels don't technically exist.
Q: Sentinels Disassembled?
A: In a way; they disbanded after one of their members, Switchfast, was killed in battle.
Q: Harsh. So what's the lineup?
A: The central figure in the team is Templar, Switchfast's younger brother. Their father founded the original Sentinels, and Templar is the de facto leader. Then there's Harlette, the requisite bad girl and deputy leader; Electron, whose father was a Sentinels villain before reforming and joining that team; Gospel and Sin, twin children of a demon and a human woman; Splash, who has gone on to a successful pop music career since the team disbanded; Crusher and Firebomb, another sibling duo; Phazer, the independently wealthy Johnny Quest of the team; Serpenta, whose reptilian exterior belies the team's emotional core; and Blaster, the sole surviving member of the original team, who serves as mentor and advisor to the new Sentinels, and has more than a few secrets of his own.
Q: But the Sentinels don't exist at the start of the story.
A: Not at the very beginning, but that changes quickly, as three bad things happen pretty much simultaneously: Sin and Gospel's father makes a bid to extend his hell dimension into Earth, a government strike force destroys the Sentinels' headquarters while trying to steal their supercomputer Cyprus, and the aliens who created the helmets used by Crusher and Firebomb arrive on Earth, looking to take back their stuff. Dealing with these crises pretty much comprises the entire first volume. And then the serial killer shows up…
Q: Sounds like the action doesn't stop. But is there a plot?
A: There is most definitely a plot; bit by bit, these seemingly unrelated events coalesce into a vendetta against the Sentinels that's centuries in the making, and each member is changed by the events that unfold. By the end of the third volume, one member is tortured, one loses their powers, one loses something far more precious, several become parents, one becomes a demigod, one fights an army of demons single-handed, someone quits, someone else joins, reality itself is threatened, and an interstellar war breaks out.
Q: So, same shit, different day?
A: That could serve as an unofficial slogan for the team.
Q: That looks like a big cast, though.
A: It is, and it's only added to as the story progresses. Despite this, each character is fully fleshed out, and each gets a moment to prove that he or she has the grit to be a hero. Which is what the story is ultimately about: what it takes to be a hero, and how it's more than powers and legacy. In the end, the Sentinels are heroes because of the choices they make, faced with the challenges life throws at them.
Q: Who's your favorite Sentinel?
A: It's a toss-up between Templar and Serpenta, for wildly different reasons. While the mythic elements of his origin intrigued me, Templar is the kind of driven, solitary, somewhat schmuckish character I usually don't go for at first. The emotional depths he reaches over the course of the series, though, pleasantly surprised me. And Serpenta is just adorable. You can't not love her.
Q: Where do I find Sentinels?
A: Your LCS oughta be able to order it for you, or you can go direct to the publisher at www.sentinelsonline.com. Each volume costs about $20, although I got mine at a discount because I'm cool.
A: Envy is a sin, ya know.